A new £21.7m facility at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston is to be built as a further part of the UK’s contribution to the nuclear weapons information project with France.
According to the parliamentary sources, the overall investment in Project Teutates will amount to £48.7m.
The deal to share resources, in order to cut cost of military projects, between the UK and France was signed in 2010 by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Both countries committed to invest into new centres dedicated to experiments on warhead materials and parts.
The facilities will use extremely high power X-rays to test materials at high temperature and pressure, mimicking conditions during nuclear explosions. The data gathered should help to assess performance and safety of warheads and might be used in development of new warhead types.
The facilities involved are the French Valduc Centre for Nuclear Studies and the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne has confirmed the construction of the Technology Development Centre, which is part of the UK's contribution to Project Teutates, has so far cost £27m and the remaining part will be invested into a new facility within the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston.
According to Mr Dunne, wider costs of Project Teutates have been withheld as disclosure would be "likely to prejudice commercial interests and would impact on the formulation of Government policy".